Jabari Parker made it official today by announcing his intention to enter the 2014 NBA draft, surprising…well, no one, really. Parker is expected to be a top 5 pick in the draft and could even be considered a number one possibility. Parker seems to have the most mature game of any of the early entries although that likely means he’s about as good as he’s going to get, which is still good enough to make an NBA team better.
In a move that most expected after his solid year, Kansas’ Joel Embiid has declared for the NBA draft. At his news conference on Wednesday, Embiid shared his reasons for turning pro: “Looking at different scenarios and gathering info of what was best for me … either way was best for me. Talking to my mentor, it was best the choice.”
There was quite a bit of speculation leading up to this announcement that Embiid might have had a change of heart after it seemed a near certainty that he would make this move earlier in the season. Embiid suffered nagging injuries this season but still managed to average almost a double-double as a freshman. Many consider Embiid the number one pro prospect in this year’s draft with this announcement.
The Miami Heat have decided that the will use the Amnesty clause on sharp shooter Mike Miller, which may save the team more than $30 million. The savings will likely come from luxury tax payment savings. The move is not entirely unexpected, although it was only a few days after team president Pat Riley stated that the team was looking to keep the core group of players intact.
However, the Heat reportedly tried to trade Miller, not because of his play but because of the mounting cost the team incurred when adding their “Big 3″ of Bosh, Wade and Lebron James. Miller was aware that such a move might be made and is taking it in stride:
‘I understand the business side of basketball,” Miller told The Associated Press. ”It’s a combination of being very, very thankful for the opportunity that I’ve had, but it hurts that we had a chance to do something very, very special and I’d love to have been a part of it.”
It’s not entirely bad for Miller, he had battled back from injuries last season to make a positive impact in this year’s title run with the team, and despite being off the roster he will still receive his salary of $6.2 million and $6.6 million for the next two seasons. However, the Heat won’t have to count Miller’s salary towards the cap.
The Cleveland Cavaliers shocked many pundits and draft analysts last night by choosing Anthony Bennett as the top overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. While many considered this year’s draft to be a weaker draft, that’s a bit of a misnomer; most drafts don’t bring in elite stars, but rather bring in several solid players, several players who will ultimately be journeymen and role players, and quite a few players who won’t be in the league after five years. This is true every year, so why the 2013 draft would be considered significantly weaker is just conjecture.
At any rate, this draft is the last for commissioner David Stern, who won’t be missed, and leaves a league that is rife with unprofitable teams and a business structure based on a few players rather than solid team properties like every other league in the world. During Stern’s tenure, the NBA has limped along with weak profit margins – while the NFL’s profit margin has exploded over the $1 billion mark, and Major League Baseball has almost half a billion, the NBA is just around $183 million in profit (on $4.1 billion in revenue…you have to work really hard to lose that much margin, but Stern has managed to do it), just barely ahead of the NHL. Despite so many people writing that Stern is a fantastic commissioner, the reality is they aren’t business people. After all, a lot of people thought interest-only home loans with adjustable rates were a great idea, too.
But back to the NBA and it’s heralded draft night, there are almost certainly players who will be much better than the pundits think, and time will continue to tell which teams are horrible at evaluating players. The draft also set off several massive trades which may ultimately prove that Danny Ainge and the Celtics know more about building a team than most of the league.
So while no championship is won on draft night, it does show patterns for teams, and it’s always interesting to see which teams consistently blow it while others walk away with solid contributors every year.
Rodney McGruder, who just finished his college basketball career at Kansas State, talks about playing in front of NBA scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational, what he’s working on and his favorite pair of shoes.
Durand Scott, a 6’5″ guard who just finished a solid college basketball career at the University of Miami, talks to us about playing at the Portsmouth Invitational, his shoe game and what he’s working on to get better and improve his chances at a pro career.
Marcus Wells, who just finished playing as the point guard for Winston-Salem State, talks about his overall game, his prospects for the future in pro basketball and what playing at WSSU has meant to him.